Monday, August 01, 2011

Dhoni, Ian Bell and the run-out

A new post on the Dhoni and the Bell run-out incident at Trent Bridge is up at The Pitch

Over at Ducking Beamers, Rohan doesn't much like my analysis. Since the confusion that Rohan displays in his objection is exceedingly common in all negative responses to my post, I'm going to respond here. (Incidentally, I'm a little surprised that Rohan, who is such a serious and intelligent blogger, begins his response with the flippant "I don’t know much about Aristotle; I never cared much for the Ancients").

There are three points in my article, which people can't seem to keep apart:

1. Was Dhoni a sucker? Yes. You don't give and give in circumstances when you are not expected to, and don't need to and where giving compromises you. A mother that denies food to her child because she keeps giving it away is being foolish. It has nothing to do with the non-transactionality of morality. One could easily argue she is being immoral (but we don't need to do that - the virtue of generosity does not require you self-abnegate).

2. Is the invocation of the spirit of cricket justified? Yes, on pains of inconsistency and incoherence.

3. Does generosity demand reciprocity? Yes, otherwise free riders bring all systems of generosity to an end. If you take something out, you put something back in - that keeps the system going (or you get the tragedy of the commons - too many free riders on a system bring it to a rapid end). Otherwise it becomes one-way exploitation. Read the rationale behind the terms of the GPL license in free software/open source world (which responds to the "Why don't you just give me your code, without asking me to release it under the same terms when I make modifications and release! Boo-hoo, you are not really being generous, you are restricting me!" complaint). If Strauss and Flower do not reciprocate, and a similar incident occurs later in the series, will Dhoni feel like doing the same? I'm guessing not. Will anyone blame him for that? No. End of sportsmanlike gestures, I'm guessing.

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Anonymous Thiru Cumaran said...

This "Spirit of Cricket" rubbish has become more like a PR tool for players around the world rather than something which will make the player feel better...why trample upon the rules of the game (as James Lawton says in The Independent) for the sake of some invisible rule called the "Spirit of Cricket"? To hell with it, I say!

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Ducking Beamers said...


Excellent points. I should have written my analysis less as a critique, and more as an alternative philosophical approach. As in, 'Samir looks at the Golden Mean, but what other philosophical models or rules would guide us in adjudicating this dispute?' I still find the question -- 'How would I feel if it happened to me? -- dispositive, though I understand the glaring weakness (i.e., What if the other side says, 'What if it were me?' and still sees no case for compassion).

And, yes, perhaps it was flippant of me to disregard the Ancients in such an off-hand manner. It is a glaring gap in my knowledge of political philosophy, which, quite frankly, is not that extensive. I just find reading the Moderns -- Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Smith, Hume, Mill, Bentham -- more satisfying and easier to understand.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'the spirit of the game' please, the game is better of left to the RULES of the game. If Indian wanted to show spirit then it's their choice if they tale the stumps of not but once the stumps are downed it's a question of the laws of the game and if they say you are out then you are out... Every time something like this happens I lose a little bit of respect for the game... how can two players get together and decide to over turn a decision. They should have no power at all to over turn decisions. This is a PROFESSIONAL game so the players need to grow up, the commentators who spill this rubbish about 'technically out but' need to grow up, the spectators that actually think that it's ok to change the rules because you feel like it need to grow up... once this has happened the cricket can grow up too.

Sorry to all the traditionalists but as soon as you start to pay players and more importantly umpires then you should expect them to do there jobs. Bell should have been out with out complain. He made a massive error in judgement and he should be punished for it, that is what top level sport is all about people!

4:43 AM  

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